Wong May represents a middle ground between Pound, with his barely intelligible Chinese, and sinologists with their near-pedantic veracity. As a bilingual poet who can harness her own experience of diaspora and the long afterlives of war and displacement, she offers a lived intimacy that one hopes will become increasingly prevalent in the field of translation. “Poetry lives in the present—though it happened in Tang China,” she writes. “I do not mean the poem should read like it has just been translated, but like it has just been written.”
Our News, Your News
By Nicky Harman, October 15, '22
The first session of the book club, held last week, was a great success. 70 + participants from all over the world discussed Yan Ge's short story Sissy Zhong, translated by Nicky Harman, with great enthusiasm. Book here for the second session on 18 November. We will be discussing an essay from Sanmao's Tales of the Sahara, and are delighted that the translator, Mike Fu, will join us from Tokyo. Registration is free.
By Jack Hargreaves, October 10, '22
Hello, hello, a happy autumn to one and all! (It's my favourite season, can you tell?)
It's been a while since the last instalment of this here newsletter came out, and a lot has happened between those heady dog days of August and now, some of which you might have missed. So wherever there are recordings of events I've included them below. And of course, if there's something that has happened in the world of Chinese lit over the past few months that isn't below, please do send in the article or link and I'll pop it in the list [website only].
The reason for this is, though you might have been waiting eagerly chewing at the bit for this issue to come out, it is nevertheless going to be the last one for a short while. Probably until early next year, in fact. We enjoy running the newsletter and putting it together, and there has been some lovely feedback about it as a resource, for which we thank you, but we need to rethink how to make it more readily sustainable and maintainable for those of us behind the scenes. In the meantime, a period of rest is in order (instead of a period of procrastination, which is what the last three months have been). We hope you'll stick around and stay subscribed for when the new issue drops into your inboxes come January or February, and if it happens that any of you have any interest in being part of running a newsletter for Chinese literature in translation on a voluntary basis, then be sure to get in touch. The same goes for if you have or know of any news that you think would fit the newsletter, now or anytime in the future; you can always email news AT paper-republic DOT org with anything Chinese-lit-related that you think worth sharing. If it's urgent, and waiting until the next issue would mean missing out, we'll post it straight onto the website and socials (Facebook, WeChat and Twitter for the time being).
Anyway, this issue is review- and release-heavy. So go wonder at all the shiny new books you can spend your hard-earned cash on just in time for Christmas. Oh, and any aspiring or emerging (budding, fledgling, nascent) translators out there with a short piece of fiction or non-fiction about food which you think needs translating or you have lying about in a drawer ready-translated, keep those hungry eyes peeled for a call for submissions in the not-so-distant future.
Happy holidays y'all. Here's to a smashing end of the year (we can dream, eh!).
By Jack Hargreaves, August 3, '22
Hey everyone! We're jumping right into the news in this instalment, since it's a little overdue. Do keep your eyes peeled on the Paper Republic website for a new Read Paper Republic series in the very, very near future. This one is guest-edited and includes some of our favourite Chinese poets and translators.
Nobel Prize Laureate Mo Yan recently published an article on his WeChat account clarifying that many poems and articles apparently signed with his name online were actually not his works.
By Jack Hargreaves, June 11, '22
Folks, not to brag, but I've all but stopped using social media for a month now (by circumstance rather than by choice) and it's been a lovely holiday for the mind. It also means, in case you're wondering why my boasting is relevant, this month's newsletter is a short one. That's right, like many millennials, I source most of my news from the socials, and that includes Chinese-lit related news.
Here's to a more jampacked newsletter next month, when I inevitably fall back into old habits.
In the meantime, direct your attention toward the upcoming Aberdeen Festival of Translation. By upcoming, I mean it starts on Monday 13th June with a workshop led by Nicky Harman. But there is plenty more to come.
By Eric Abrahamsen, June 7, '22
Check out this brilliant conversation between renowned Chinese writer and UK-based novelist, Xiaolu Guo 郭小櫓 and publisher James Tookey of Peirene Press, led by our Emily Jones and held to mark the launch of The Paper Republic Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature. The Guide begins with an in-depth introduction by Xiaolu, followed by biogs of almost 100 of the most important writers working in the Chinese language today, and essays ranging from the role of the author to science fiction to popular Chinese internet literature.
Uncle Tall Tale: On “Mo Yan Speaks: Lectures and Speeches by the Nobel Laureate from China” - review by Astrid Møller-Olsen in the LARB, 31 May 2022
Mo Yan's lectures and speeches translated and edited by Shiyan Xu. With an introduction by Jonathan Stalling
Following its well-received debut last year, our online programme of paid workshops and free talks focusing on literary translation run in conjunction with Aberdeen Confucius Institute is back for 2022, running from 13 June to 2 July.
Events are aimed at professional and aspiring translators, and will cover a wide and fascinating range of topics.
See the link for more details!
By Jack Hargreaves, May 13, '22
Remember news of Han Song's new novel Hospital, coming out from Amazon Crossing (read our chat with acquiring editor Gabriella Page-Fort here)? We've got a look at the striking cover, check it out!
By Jack Hargreaves, May 12, '22
We interview three Chinese-Spanish translators about their relationship to Chinese, the books they've translated, and the translation collectives they're in. Find their answers below:
By Jack Hargreaves, May 12, '22
Happy Friday y'all!
This issue comes with a set of brilliant answers to questions we put to three Chinese-Spanish translators, as a continuation of our previous collab with their respective translator collectives. See those answers here. We hope to have more collaboration with Chinese translators and publishers into more languages besides Chinese, so if you fall into one of those categories, feel free to get in touch.
First, let me direct your attention to the great events there are coming up, which for the first time in a long time are all in person. So Londoners and Copenhageners, get to booking.
Oh, and remember news of Han Song's new novel Hospital, coming out from Amazon Crossing (read our chat with acquiring editor Gabriella Page-Fort here? We've got a look at the striking cover, check it out!
The ever changing landscape of Contemporary Chinese Literature - In Conversation with Xiaolu Guo and
Wed 25 May 2022 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM BST
China Exchange UK, 32a Gerrard Street, W1D6JA
Join us for an evening with renowned Chinese writer and UK based novelist, Xiaolu Guo 郭小櫓 in conversation with publisher James Tookey as they dive into layers of contemporary Chinese literature, writing and publishing in and outside the Chinese speaking context, and share their personal experiences as writer and publisher.
The event will mark the in-person launch of The Paper Republic Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature, a collection of biographical entries covering almost 100 of the most important writers working in the Chinese language today, from Anni Baby to Zhang Yueran, by way of Nobel Prize-winner Mo Yan. The publication covers a wide range of writers from China, Hong Kong, UK, US and topics ranging from Chinese academic writing, science fiction to popular Chinese internet literature.
Xiaolu Guo 郭小櫓
Xiaolu Guo is a writer and film-maker. Her novels include A Concise Chinese–English Dictionary for Lovers, shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her memoir Nine Continents received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2017. Her recent novel A Lover’s Discourse was published by Grove Atlantic in 2020, and was shortlisted for the Goldsmith Prize. She has also directed feature films including She, A Chinese and won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival 2009. She lives in Berlin and London.
James Tookey is the co-publisher at Peirene Press, an independent publisher with a specialism in translated books.
In this panel, we will hear from representatives of three innovative platforms for the independent publishing of translated fiction. Jen Calleja (Praspar Press), Emily Jones (Paper Republic), and Aina Marti (Heloise Press) will share their stories and experiences, and discuss the current state of literary translation from multiple perspectives.
By Jack Hargreaves, April 11, '22
Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation 2022 | Opening for entries on Wednesday 4 May, closing 15 July
Translate any poem from ANY language into English, and win cash prizes! Language lovers and budding poets of all ages are warmly invited to take part in the 2022 Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, with categories for young people (14-and-under, 16-and-under and 18-and-under) and an open category for adults.
By Jack Hargreaves, April 11, '22
Duck! Here comes your erratic, out of the blue newsletter on all things Chinese lit in translation.
Now, I know what you're thinking, it hasn't been a month since the last one. But bear with us, we're still finetuning how long we have between each edition before they become unwieldy. So here is a petite, slimline edition.
Happily, it's still as nutritious as ever, chocker with links to good news, good writing* and good times.
*poetry in particular this time around!
A quick reminder first that Bristol Translates and BCLT Summer School are still open for applications. The former will have Nicky Harman and me (Jack Hargreaves) teaching the Chinese strand, swapping and changing between the classes from the mornings to the afternoons; the latter has Jeremy Tiang running the Literature from Taiwan workshop alongside Writer-in-Residence Kan Yao-Ming.
Now for the news: